The Grand Rapids City Commission is giving a new home for veterans the go ahead, but not without some mixed feelings.

The commissioners say they want veterans to have a modern new place to live in the city. But to build the new home for veterans, an ancient 15-acre forest full of wildlife will be destroyed.

The new facility will go on land just south of the current home. Nearby residents say they will miss the trees and the natural beauty of the woods.

Related: Plans for new Grand Rapids veterans home revealed

“Home to every species of flora fauna with the exception of bear moose and elk,” nearby resident Paul V’Soske told the commissioners. “We are horrified,” he adds. “There is no other way to put it.”

After assurances the architect would improve the buffer between the neighborhood and the new home for veterans, on Tuesday night March 6, the city commission approved the zoning and site plan to permit the project to go forward.

“We want it in our city, want to see this happen,” said Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss.

“We do understand there is concern,” said architect Adam Doubblestein of the firm Tower Pinkster. “Our intention going forward is to engage an additional consultant to do further analysis of the site. We are trying to preserve as much as we can.

Veterans could start moving into the new Grand Rapids home in 2020.

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